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Footballers who have been accused of racism

Tue 15 June 2021 | 4:30

Racism is the impression in the natural priority of one race over another. It may mean prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism against other people because they are of a different phylum or ethnicity. Read on to know more about the footballers who have been accused of racism.

Racism has existed throughout human history and it has caused wars, slavery, the creation of nations, and laws and also it has caused that racists kill many people during human history.

Unfortunately racism exists in all around the world and it hasn't finished entirely but we all hope to see the day that humans don't categorize themselves by race or ethnicity.

The hateful deed of racism even exists in sports and football is no exception among sports for sure. Today we are going to study about racism in association football.

Football is the most popular sport in the world and its being playing from the smallest villages and cities to the biggest and most known places of the world.

As the most popular sport on earth, football has many unique features and special moments but there are many unpleasant events too for sure.

Unfortunately colored footballers always suffer from racist insults and this happens in all around the world from country to country.

Mostly these racist insults are conducted by a group of mean fans but sometimes they come from other footballers on the pitch, managers, pundits and others.

FIFA has done a lot for

tackling racism in football

including heavy fines and banning for long time and many other ways to stop racism.

In 2019, FIFA president Gianni Infantino called for "harsh sanctions" for tackling racism in this sport.

Footballers who have been accused of racism:

We are about to find out about footballers who have been accused of racism, and

racism in association football


John Terry

One of the most famous

footballers who have been accused of racism

is the former England defender, John Terry. He is well-known as one of Chelsea's legends and he captained the

England national team

in some occasions from 2005 to 2010.

He was a great defender during his career and won many major trophies with


including 5

Premier League

titles and one UCL title; he also played 78 international matches and scored 6 goals for England from 2003 to 2012.

Despite being a great player and leader, John Terry committed many immoral behaviors during his football career and one of them was racism insulting.

The incident came in November 2011, when Terry and his teammates at Chelsea faced against QPR at Premier League. Terry was alleged to have called QPR defender, Anton Ferdinand, a “f**king black c*nt”.

At first John Terry was practically cleared of all accusations of using racism abuse in a court of law, but in a later investigation the FA found him guilty and saw him slapped with a four-match ban.

Terry claimed that he hadn’t targeted the abuse at Ferdinand and the court cleared him, feeling that there was no way of proving the context of the abuse.

But the Football Association of England launched an investigation of their own, which finally ended badly for Chelsea captain.

The FA came to the induction that John Terry was guilty of using insulting words which included a reference to Ferdinand's race.

England's Football Association hit John Terry with a four-match ban as well as a £220,000 forfeit.

Luis Suarez

The next name among footballers who have been accused of racism is Uruguayan striker

Luis Suarez

who currently plays for La Liga champions,

Atletico Madrid


Suarez has been one of the best strikers in the world since 2010 and his goal-scoring record is remarkable but he's been one of the most contentious footballers either.

He has won five La Liga titles and one UEFA Champions League title and also the 2011 Copa America with Uruguay; he's Uruguay's all-time leading goal-scorer with scoring 63 goals in 118 caps. 

The incident of racism insulting happened when Luis Suarez played for


in Premier League.

During a match between Liverpool and

Manchester United

in October 2011, Uruguayan striker accused of using the insulting term “negro” to refer to French player, Patrice Evra on several occasions.

Liverpool club stood behind their striker and Luis Suarez claimed that the term doesn't mean the same in Spanish as it does in English and is seen as more of a friendly, informal phrase towards anyone with dark skin or even dark hair.

Suarez was unfortunate and the FA didn't buy the excuse and gave him a lengthy eight-match ban as well as a penalty of £40,000.

Sergio Busquets

All football fans around the world know about importance of El Clasico and it is one of the world's most heated and bitter rivalries.

Due to the high importance of the match and the high tensions controversial things are sometimes said and done for sure.

Sergio Busquets

has been one of the best midfielders in the world since 2009 and he has won all major trophies including FIFA World Cup, he is known for his good morals but even such a calm player couldn't control himself in El Clasico.

The bad blood between



Real Madrid

reached to an all-time high when these sides met in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2010 season.

Following the match, Real Madrid club released a video on the club television channel showing proof of what appeared to be Barcelona's Busquets shouting "mono, mono" (Spanish for "monkey") at Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo.

Sergio Busquets was to confront a five-match ban if found guilty, but UEFA cleared him of the accusations and he was allowed to play in the Champions League final for Barca where they defeated Manchester United.

Peter Schmeichel

Danish football legend is another one of the

footballers who have been accused of racism

. Peter Schmeichel is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time and his best club spell was at

Manchester United


Peter Schmeichel won Premier League title five times and also won the 1998-99 season UEFA Champions League with the Red Devils. At international level he managed to win the 1992 UEFA Euro tournament with Denmark.

Danish goalkeeper and Arsenal's striker, Ian wright were pitted against each other in one of English football's most petulant and unforgettable feuds.

In February 1997, Ian Wright accused United's goalkeeper of making racist insults at him during a rather heated match, and the FA investigation went back several months further, when Schmeichel was accused of referring to Wright as a "black bastard" during a November 1996 match.

Finally the FA couldn't find any proof against Peter Schmeichel and the charges were dropped.

Emre Belozoglu

In this case we have a player who has a record in accusing of racism and he's former professional footballer Emre Belozoglu.

Emre Belozoglu is regarded as one of best Turkish footballers ever and has played for great club including Inter Milan, with Turkey he won bronze medal of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Turkish footballer has been accused of racism for several times during his football career. The dispute began in 2006 when he played for

Newcastle United

in Premier League.

After a match against


in 2006, he was charged by the FA for using racist insults towards colored players Joleon Lescott, Tim Howard and Joseph Yobo.

An investigation saw him cleared of the charges, but a year later in 2007 he was accused of using racist insults by both African players El-Hadji Diouf and Alhassan Bangura.

Again both accusations couldn't be proven, and Turkish midfielder was cleared of any wrongdoing after investigations had been launched.

Emre was so lucky in England but it didn't repeat for him when he moved back to Turkey with Fenerbahce.

In April 2012 when


faced Trabzonspor, a harsh incident occurred that saw Emre accused by former Tottenham player Didier Zokora of using a racist slur towards him.

Zokora claimed Emre had called him a “f*cking n*gger”, and for his part, Emre admitted to using a “stupid word”, but claimed it was all in the heat of the match.

The Turkish FA didn’t see it like that and hit Emre with a two-match ban for using abusive language, but worse was yet to come.

The case went to court in June 2014 and Emre became the first Turkish footballer to be convicted for racism – he was handed a two-and-a-half year suspended prison sentence.

Milan Baros

Czech striker is one of footballers who have been accused of racism. Milan Baros is a famous footballer and during his career he has played for big clubs including Liverpool and


, he currently plays for FK Vigantice on amateur level at the age of 39.

He won the Golden Boot of UEFA Euro 2004 with scoring five goals and he won the UEFA Champions League in 2004-05 season with Liverpool.

Baros was accused of racial abuse towards Cameroonian international Stephane M'Bia in 2007, during a match against Stade Rennes with Olympique Lyonnais.

Footage appeared on French television of Baros pinching his nose and waving his hand away at M'Bia, an action M'Bia took to mean Baros was pointing he had a bad smell and that the action was racially inspired.

However Milan Baros accepted the action and said he regretted it, he denied that it had racial contents.

The Lyon club supported Milan Baros' defense in a statement: "Milan Baros merely wanted to tell (Mbia) something he didn't know how to say in French: 'leave me alone and give me breathing space.'"

Finally the Czech striker was cleared of the indictments by the Ligue de Football Professionnel, but was still suspended for three matches for unsportsmanlike manner.

Aleksandar Tonev

Bulgarian winger is one of footballers who have been accused of racism. The 31year old winger, Aleksandar Tonev has played 29 matches for Bulgaria national team since 2011.

In 2013 he signed for

Aston Villa

and on 11 August 2014, Tonev moved to Scottish champions Celtic on a season-long loan deal, with an option to buy.

Tonev made his debut for


on 13 September against Aberdeen. Aberdeen's English right-back player, Shay Logan accused Bulgarian winger of using racist insults during the match.

Tonev denied all claims but the SFA decided to investigate the occasion, and deciding that Logan was a “more reliable and convincing witness” than Tonev, they handed the Bulgarian a long seven-match ban.

Celtic club decided to appeal the decision, claiming Tonev was not a racist, but when the appeal failed, the club decided to take the issue no further.

It was a quick and terrible stay at Celtic for Bulgarian winger and he only played six matches during that season and on the following summer he joined Italian club Frosinone on a permanent deal.

Jelle Van Damme

Among footballers who have been accused of racism you can see the name of former Belgian defender, Jelle Van Damme, who retired from professional football in 2020.

He played for many clubs during his career but sent most of his career in Belgium playing for Anderlecht, Standard Liege and Antwerp. Van Damme also participated in 31 caps for Belgium national team from 2003 to 2014.

When he played for Anderlecht in 2009, he got into a quarrel with American international Oguchi Onyewu who played for Standard Liege and was accused of saying racist slurs.

Onyewu claimed that Van Damme referred to him as a "dirty monkey" among other slurs.

Van Damme denied the allegations, saying Onyewu had called him a "dirty Flemish" and stated: "On the pitch there’s a lot of nervousness and many things are said in the heat of the moment. I think supporters understand intimidation is part of the game. Of course, there are limits to it. I want to make it clear I’m definitely not a racist. “

Onyewu's advocate said he tried to warn the match referee, Johann Verbist, who was unable to solve the matter, saying, "I could do nothing. It was the word of one man against another."

The American player lodged a legal pleading in a Belgian court in an agony to put an end racist manner on the pitch.

Edwin Cardona

The Colombian attacking midfielder,

Edwin Cardona

who currently plays for

Boca Juniors

is one of footballers who have been accused of racism.

He's a member of Colombia national team since 2014 and the racism incident happened during an international match.

During a friendly match between Colombia and South Korea, Cardona found himself caught up in a mild scuffle between his teammate James Rodriguez, and Korean players Ki and Jin-Su Kim.

As the referee attempted to calm matters down, Cardona was caught on camera making a “squinting-eyes” gesture towards the Korean captain, which the referee didn't see but it shocked the fans who were watching the match.

FIFA decided to sanction Edwin Cardona, banning him for five international games for “making a discriminatory behavior towards an opponent”.

Edwin Cardona apologized for any insult he’d caused with the move, but the harm had already been done – he’d joined probably the grossest list of players in modern football.

Leandro Desabato

Former Argentine professional footballer who is currently manager of Estudiantes is among players who have been accused of racism.

Following a Copa Libertadores match in 2005, Leandro Desabato spent a night in police custody, due to questioning after a quarrel with Brazilian striker Grafite.

Desabato played for Quilmes and he was accused of saying racist slurs to São Paulo striker following a row between the Brazilian and Desabato's teammate, Carlos Arano.

Carlos Arano and Grafite were both sent off, although no disciplinary act was taken on the pitch towards Leandro Desabato.

The entire Quilmes team stayed in São Paulo to wait for Desabato, and Grafite finally dropped the delations, although the incident posed a discussion about racism in South American football.

According to Kick It Out's post on the action, Brazilian legend Pelé dismissed Grafite's claims, "Reminding others that his answer to such insults was to bury the offenders under an avalanche of goals."

Steven Harkness

The English former professional footballer who played as a defender from 1989 to 2002 is another one of footballers who have been accused of racism. He played most of his career in Liverpool from 1989 to 1999.

The Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore accused Steven Harkness of racist abuse at a 1998 match at Villa Park.

As Collymore recalled, later printed in The Guardian, "I was being wound up all game and was getting racial abuse ... Harkness called me a coon.

There were also other things said that were even worse. It was racial abuse of the worst kind and totally out of order ... It hurt me very much indeed and I am still considering whether to make an official complaint.

 I went out of my way to tell the black players at Liverpool what had happened. Harkness has to live with them as well as himself."

Steven Harkness denied the accusations while the PFA investigated Collymore's claims and said, "I vehemently deny the accusation that I made racist comments to Stan Collymore during or after the game at Aston Villa on Saturday.

The particular background to this game may have meant that there was more going on the pitch than is usual, but that does not extend to racial abuse of any kind."

Footballers who have been victims of racial abuse:

We talked about the

footballers who have been accused of racism, 

now let's take a look at most famous footballers who have been victims of racial abuse.

Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian professional footballer,

Mohamed Salah

who plays for Liverpool as a forward in Premier League is one of the best forwards in the world.

He's an idol between Liverpool fans and of course the people of Egypt, his great performances made him a hero in England but due to being an African player and Muslim he has been targeted by racist insults several times.

In January 2020 when Salah and his teammates at Liverpool managed to defeat

West Ham

at the London Stadium, he was racially abused by a fan of West Ham.

The offender fan appeared at court and admitted his racial offence; he was banned from football matches for three years and also was fined £525.

Dani Alves

The case of former Barca and Juve defender Dani Alevs became very famous due to his move against racial abuse.

On 27 April 2014 when Alves played for Barcelona against


, he was targeted by Villarreal supporter who threw a banana at him.

Alves picked up the banana, peeled it and took a bite. He responded to the incident by saying: "We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren't going to change things easily. If you don't give it importance, they don't achieve their objective."

After the incident colored footballers posted photographs of themselves eating banana including teammate Neymar.

A man was arrested in connection with the incident and Villarreal were later fined €12,000 for the case.

Samuel Eto'o

The Cameroonian retired professional footballer who played as a striker during his career. He's regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

He played for many great clubs during his long club career but his prime was at Barcelona from 2004 to 2009.

With Barcelona Samuel Eto'o won

La Liga

for three times and also won UEFA Champions League twice.

Eto'o is one of many high-profile current players to have reacted to the insult by threatening to leave the pitch and being straight in criticism of their experiences.

During an away match against

Real Zaragoza

in February 2005, Eto'o was the subject of racist taunts by rival supporters, who started making monkey-like chants onto the pitch whenever he had possession of the ball.

Two of the insulters were caught and given five-month sporting-event bans after being recognized to police by other viewers, Eto'o later expressed that the penalty was insufficient and that Zaragoza's stadium should have been closed for at least one year.

In the following season racist chants repeated by Zaragoza fans which made Eto'o furious, however, he attempted to depart the pitch in protest but his teammates interfered and ensured Eto'o to continue playing.  

A number of leading footballers have taken a knee before matches to stop racism. Taking a knee is an anti-racism gesture. It is a gesture chosen by the players as a stance for greater racial equality in football.




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source: SportMob